Clint-essential Moments – A Look Into Clint Eastwood’s Greatest Moments On The Big Screen
Feature by Rob Carnevale
ACADEMY Award® winner Clint Eastwood is without a doubt a Hollywood legend. Honored for his work as a director, producer and actor, including four Oscars®, he is the icon of macho movie stars.
With that menacing squint, and rugged charm, his diverse career spans over six decades and he’s still going strong well into his 80’s.
To celebrate the release of Trouble With The Curve on November 30, we take a look at some of Clint’s greatest moments on the big screen.
The Dollars Trilogy (1964 – 1966)
Undoubtedly, Clint’s rise to fame was playing a tough and morally ambiguous cowboy ‘The Man With No Name’ in Sergio Leone’s trilogy of spaghetti western’s – A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). In A Fistful of Dollars, it was said that Sergio Leone wanted to cast either Henry Fonda or Charles Bronson. As he was on a tight budget and couldn’t afford them, he decided to take a gamble and cast Clint. Well that gamble certainly paid off.
Leone’s trademark style of using little dialogue and extreme close-ups matched Eastwood’s style of acting perfectly and the film was a surprise box-office smash. Due to the success of this film, the next two received more funding and all three became box office successes making Eastwood a Hollywood star.
Dirty Harry (1971)
Eastwood then starred in what was his most famous debut since the ‘Man With No Name’ – Inspector Harry Callahan, (the daddy of all maverick cops) Dirty Harry. This role established Eastwood’s reputation as an amazing talent and an enduring cultural icon of raw masculinity. It also contributed one of the most memorable lines in cinema: “Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?”
The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)
Another of Eastwood’s seminal Westerns, this followed the fortunes of a Missouri farmer who joins a Confederate guerrilla unit and winds up on the run from the Union soldiers who murdered his family after the war. A tale of revenge and loss, it found Eastwood on memorable form as Josey Wales, befrending Indians and forming his own surrogate family on the way to finding some kind of peace. Along the way, however, he had to lay waste to old enemies, bounty hunters and fresh foe who simply didn’t understand what it meant to cross Josey Wales. An iconic moment sees Wales coming to the rescue of his colleagues against a small army of ‘pirates’.
Every Which Way But Loose (1978)
After starring in a string of spaghetti westerns and Dirty Harry roles, playing Philo Beddoe, a trucker and brawler roaming the American West accompanied by his pet orang-utan, Clyde. Every Which Way But Loose was a role that was uncharacteristic for Clint to say the least. It was also reported that he was advised against making this adventure comedy. But the film went on to become an enormous success and became, along with its 1980 sequel Any Which Way You Can, two of the highest grossing Eastwood films.
This Western starred, produced and was directed by Clint Eastwood, and also starred Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman and Richard Harris. It won four Academy Awards® including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Hackman), and Best Film Editing. Additionally, the film was only the third western to win the Oscar for Best Picture following Cimarron (1931) and Dances With Wolves (1990) and was also considered by many to be one of the greatest Western films of all time.
In The Line of Fire (1993)
Wolfgang Petersen’s taut assassination thriller saw Eastwood playing veteran Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan, who is haunted by his failure to save President Kennedy, but who determines to thwart a clever assassin (John Malkovich, on wickedly malevolent form) take out this president. This was a first-rate movie that also showcased Eastwood’s sensitive side for the first time (it’s one of the first films in which he sheds a tear). It also attracted three Oscar nominations, including a best supporting nod for Malkovich.
Mystic River (2003)
Directed, co-produced and scored by Clint, it opened to widespread critical acclaim and was nominated for 6 Academy Awards© – two of which were won by Sean Penn for Best Actor and Tim Robbins for Best Supporting Actor. Obtaining both of these awards made Mystic River the first film to win both awards since Ben-Hur in 1959. The film, based on the novel by Dennis Lehane, followed three childhood friends who are reunited when one of them loses a child… prompting them all to look back on the youthful tragedy that overshadowed their lives while trying to get to the truth about the murder at hand.
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
As one critic put it, “…Million Dollar Baby is a masterpiece, pure and simple”. Starring alongside Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman, this film delivered the goods by winning four Academy Awards© including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Freeman), Best Performing Actress (Swank). Eastwood played hardened trainer/manager Frankie Dunn, who helps a determined woman in her attempt to establish herself as a boxer against his better judgement. A tear-jerker, this film also garnered the review: “It floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee.”
Gran Torino (2008)
Directed and produced by Clint, this film marked Eastwood’s return to a lead acting role after four years, and was a critical and commercial success making it his most successful film ever. It was also recognised by the American Film Institute as one of the Ten Best Films of 2008. And it included another of Clint’s great cinema lines in “get off my lawn!” He was holding a rifle at the time!
Trouble With The Curve is in cinemas nationwide from November 30, 2012.
- Read our review
- Clint-essential moments - A Look Into Clint Eastwood’s Greatest Moments On The Big Screen
- Trouble With The Curve Photo Gallery
- Watch the trailer